The California State Capitol (AP photo/Robert Durell)

The California Health Benefit Exchange has put out a call for general agents.

The agency, the entity running California’s Covered California health insurance exchange program, wants to use general agents to recruit, train, supervise and support the retail agents that help the small employers that sign up for the state’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange plans.

The first contract term would extend from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.

SHOP exchange general agent contract proposals are due June 11. Exchange managers hope to announce the contract winners June 21.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state agencies to set up exchanges, or health insurance supermarkets, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by Oct. 1. California is setting up its own exchange.

Exchange managers say in the request for proposals that the mission of the exchange is to increase the number of insured Californians, improve health care quality, lower costs, and reduce health disparities.

“Covered California recognizes that  general agents may be of considerable assistance in achieving this mission,” the exchange managers say.

General agents help retail agents with product information, training, online tools, broad market knowledge, Spanish-language enrollment support, and preparing applications for processing, exchange managers say.

Exchange managers are hoping to form relationships with general agents that have an “aggressive marketing plan” and will “provide sales results that will meet or exceed established goals on a consistent basis.”

Exchange managers want general agents to keep estimates for total costs under $3 million.

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